La-la-la-la-leg day. Boy, am I copping body karma for not going to the gym for a week. Despite doing no lower body exercises on Wednesday, when I hit the gym yesterday my glutes were sore from doing the dumbbell snatches. Yesterday’s workout included what I can the ‘jelly maker’ – the 45 degree free weight leg press. I enjoy this machine so much more than the standard 45 degree leg press machine – I feel like I can get greater depth, hit better weight targets, and push myself further on this one. I’m pretty sure my PB on this machine is 190 kg at the moment – here’s hoping I’ll break the magic 200 kg mark soon 🙂
This workout also contained barbell box squats. I was reflecting on these last night – at 45 kg, I felt like some reps were super easy and some were super hard. My form is just too inconsistent to go up in weight right now, and I find that really really frustrating. If I could get some consistency in my squats I could increase the weight, but right now I just wouldn’t trust myself to get back up from the bottom of each squat!!!
- 10 x barbell box squats (40 kg, 45 kg x 2)
- 20 x weighted alternating step ups with top leg staying on bench (10 kg each hand, 12 kg each hand x 2)
- 8 x 45 degrees free weight leg press (110 kg, 140 kg, 160 kg)
- 20 x jump squats
Last week both my PT and my partner were away. My PT offered me a replacement for the week, but to be honest he sets the standards pretty high and his replacement in the past just hasn’t been up to scratch, so I said no and promised him I’d train myself. Except that I didn’t. I did pack my gym bag and put it in the car three days in a row, but twice I got held up at work and on the third day… well on the third day I got lazy. With no PT appointments and no partner around to tell me to suck it up, I just didn’t get off my bum and get to the gym.
While I was busy not being at the gym, I was also busy being absolutely crap at being an adult about my food intake. I fell off the bandwagon, I ate what I shouldn’t have, I showed no restraint and I generally decided that I’d start again next week. Or something. I was also busy reading all the fitness blogs, and looking at all of the fitspo, and generally thinking about how I want to get stronger… and I was doing nothing about it. I chose foccacias for lunch, and chinese takeaway, and I ate chocolate in the car on the way home from work.
Yesterday morning my PT was back in the gym, and so was I. It was a good session, I worked hard, and I enjoyed it. The funny thing was, for the rest of the day, and for the first time in a fortnight, I found it easy to make good food choices. I bought a salad (which I enjoyed). I didn’t eat chocolate in the car on the way home. There was no afternoon snacks. So it made me realise something. If one good choice leads to another good choice, then it makes sense to find the good choice that is easiest to make, and always prioritise it, knowing that putting that first will help the rest of those good choices to flow freely.
In this case, clearly I need someone else to motivate me to work out. Whether it’s paying my PT or working out with my partner, exercising that way comes a lot easier to me than making that choice by myself. But making that choice seems to lead to me choosing to exercise more often, and to choosing better foods. So for now, my choice is to continue to prioritise my finances to pay for a PT, and to choose to start to schedule more workouts with my partner.
Starting with one good choice, which makes the harder choices easier to make.
Back in the gym after a week and a half off. My trainer was on holidays, and I said I didn’t need a replacement trainer while he was gone because I could look after myself for a single week. Turns out I was wrong. Anyway, back on the horse now for an arm day!
- 10 x wide grip lat pull-downs (25 kg, 30 kg, 35 kg)
- 10, 10, 8 x single arm barbell snatches each arm (12 kg, 14 kg x 2)
- 10 x raised push-ups (on bottom rung of pull-up machine)
- 10 x bench press (20 kg, 25 kg)
- 10 x single arm bent over rows each arm (12 kg, 14 kg)
I just went to get a coffee – my second for the day. I haven’t had breakfast, and I’m hungry. I strongly considered a muffin, then a pastry, then a piece of slice, and then I said no. No muffin.
So I ate a whole lot of chocolate over the Easter weekend, and I also ate a bunch of other stuff I shouldn’t (hello McDonald’s dinner while driving on Saturday night), but today I’ve had a victory. No muffin.
I missed blogging about Tuesday’s workout this week – it was a bunch of exercises that I wasn’t sure how to describe, using weights that I forgot to check. Oh well!!
On to yesterday’s leg day. This should have been a standard one – instead I found myself struggling with some sets, and my legs are really feeling it today. Unusual!! My PT did get me started doing lunges from a raised surface (negative lunges? Step-off lunges?), but since we hiked Bogong I’ve had a slight twitch on the sole of my foot that’s triggered by weight being placed on the ball of my foot. The lunges weren’t really suiting it, so we switched to Bulgarian Split Squats with a pretty low raised foot to ensure a deep squat.
- 20 x horizontal leg press (80 kg)
- 20 x raised heel squats
- 20 x step-off lunges (1 set)
- 10 x Bulgarian split squats each leg (2 sets)
- 10 x hamstring curls (25 kg)
Yesterday I compared doing squats with Opera singing. When I first finished high school, I jumped straight into a Bachelor of Classical Music (opera singing). Ultimately I never finished it, and this story probably indicates why.
I wasn’t (still aren’t) a fan of opera. I didn’t (still don’t!) know what good opera technique sounded like, and I certainly didn’t know what it felt like. When I was singing in a way that felt comfortable and ‘right’, I was told I was doing it wrong. When I sung in a way that felt physically odd and sounded (to me) bad, I was told I was doing it right. But only sometimes. I could feel odd and sound bad in many ways, and sometimes I was told I was wrong and others I was right – but I couldn’t tell the difference.
To me, squats provide a really similar experience. I’ll do 10 reps and none of them will ‘feel right’, but at the end of the set my PT will tell me that reps 6, 7 and 8 were good. But to me they all felt different, and certainly none of them felt right. I explained this to my PT yesterday (including the classical singing anecdote) and he looked at me kind of confused, but also like he kind of got it. We talked about my absolute discomfort with back squats, but how my (rarely practiced) front squats felt better. We did squats san-the barbell, which my arms in back and front squat position, and ascertained that even without the barbell I couldn’t do a squat with my arms in back squat position to a decent depth or with decent technique. Holding my arms in a front squat position was better though, so we went down some weight and played around with that.
My PT realised that if he verbally cues me at the right time I push my weight back where it needs to be, and I did some really decent low squatting reps like this. Unfortunately I couldn’t do very many, and (luckily my PT was spotting me closely!) I ultimately ended up losing power and falling over backwards. But that’s ok – I felt like it was my best squat session in a really long time. I had a technique breakthrough, and although I’m a long way off being able to confidently do them on my own with good technique, yesterday’s session took me a step forward.
- 10 x back squats (40 kg, 50 kg)
- 10 x high jump squats with arm thrust
- 9 x front squats (30 kg) – failure and rest at rep 5, failure and stop at rep 9
- 10 x high jump squats with arm thrust
- 10 x horizontal leg press (80kg) with wide-legged stance, and angled toes
Arm/upper body day today. But because the scale have gone up instead of down over the long weekend, my PT threw in some whole body/fat burner stuff just for funsies (his funsies, not mine). I totally hadn’t mentally prepared for it after Sunday’s humungo hike (I’ll write about that later in the week when I’ve got some time), and my legs weren’t too happy, but I found some ways to mentally push myself and be reasonably happy with the workout.
- 8 x pull-ups on the pull-up machine (50kg, 45 kg x 2)
- 8 x dips on machine (50 kg, 45 kg x 2)
- 8 x raised push-ups on lowest pull-up machine step
- 30 seconds x battlerope slams (31 – 35 slams each round)
- 30 seconds x wall ball squat throws (12 – 16 throws each round)
Oh no! I forgot to write up Monday’s workout! Out of order. Bugger. Oh well! Arm/back/upper body workout, and my PT told me he thought I was having a strong day. When he says that I’m normally thinking to myself ‘hey, these weights are actually manageable and I’m keeping good form’ so that’s good.
Barbell complex x 3
15 kg x 8 reps, 15 kg x 10 reps, 20 kg x 8 reps
- Bicep curl
- Overhead press
- Normal grip clean
- Wide grip clean
- Upright row (note: final set was with 15 kg for 8 reps, not 20 kg)
- Bent over row
- Clean and press
- Lat pulldown x 10, 8 (25 kg) – 3 seconds down, 3 seconds up
Today was the last leg day before Bogong. Although I was tempted to make this even earlier in the week, I decided that Thursday, Friday and Saturday is enough time to recover fully. That, and I asked my PT not to absolutely kill my legs. The really nice thing is that while the workout didn’t kill my legs, if I’d done the same workout a few years ago it absolutely would have smashed me. And I wouldn’t have been able to do the weights I did today.
- 24 x walking lunges (no weights, 2 sets x 10 kg each hand)
- 1 min x jumping step ups (step up jumps?)
- 8 x hamstring curls (25 kg, 27 kg x 2 sets)
- 20 x raised heel squats (not coming to a full upright at the top of each rep – keeping the legs slightly bent)
This workout was actually a fitness test. I’m doing a 12 week challenge at the moment, which I’ll go into more details on next week post-Bogong, but for now here’s the results (I’ll re-do this again in four weeks or so)
The idea was to see how many reps of each I could do in the allotted 1 minute. I chose to focus on good form and not sacrifice technique for more reps, and I was pretty please with my results:
- 1 minute of burpees: 15 reps
- 1 minute of push-ups: 20 reps
- 1 minute of sit-ups: 22 (this was listed as crunches. I think they’re too subjective, so did sit ups instead)
- 1 minute of alternate lunges: 32 (I’m not really sure how I’d beat this, I was going at a decent pace. I think I’d be best to add weight and work to match this result)
- Plank for time: 1 minute 11 seconds
- Jump squats: 53 (low squats with good form)